This site is intended for healthcare professionals

Go to /sign-in page

You can view 5 more pages before signing in

Temporomandibular joint dislocation

Last reviewed dd mmm yyyy. Last edited dd mmm yyyy

Authoring team

The jaw sometimes dislocates after enthusiastic laughing, chewing or kissing.

Palpate to check there has not been a fracture.

Types of dislocation

  • the mandible usually dislocates anteriorly, and subluxes when the jaw is opened wide
  • other dislocations imply the presence of a fracture and require referral to a surgeon

Dislocation is often a chronic problem and associated with temporomandibular joint dysfunction.

If dislocation is not obvious, then consider other conditions, such as:

  • fracture
  • hemarthrosis
  • closed lock of the joint meniscus
  • myofascial pain.

Clinical features:

  • severe pain at TMJ and over masseter muscle
  • the jaw is pushed forward from its normal position
  • the patient cannot bite the teeth together
  • dislocation on one side only causes asymmetrical deviation of the chin
  • bilateral dislocation causes the jaw to protrude
  • the patient has difficulty speaking (2)
  • severe pain anterior to the ear (2)
  • a depression can be seen or felt in the preauricular area (2)


Related pages

Create an account to add page annotations

Annotations allow you to add information to this page that would be handy to have on hand during a consultation. E.g. a website or number. This information will always show when you visit this page.